Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, Martin Heydon TD, has welcomed the planned extension of the pilot local link evening rural bus service.

“When I first made the proposal last Autumn on behalf of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, to Transport Minister Shane Ross, for the extension of evening rural bus services around the country, I wanted to encourage increased connectivity in our rural areas.


“We all know the importance of tackling rural isolation and a big part of this is ensuring that people can get around their area, be it to local events, the GAA club, shopping centres, restaurants, pubs and visiting friends and relatives.


“Since last summer a total of 65 additional services across all 26 counties have been running on average from 6pm to 11pm typically on Friday and Saturday. This pilot scheme has proven very successful and I am glad that the Minister has confirmed it will continue until at least March 31st, until a full review is complete


“In my own area the services takes passengers between several south Kildare towns and villages every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening until the end of the year.


“Originally, it was intended that the pilot would end on the 31st of December 2018 after which the National Transport Authority would review the results of it. It has been confirmed to me that the NTA will now conduct a further review of the performance of these services in March 2019 after which a decision will be taken regarding future funding for these services.


“As I said at the beginning of the pilot scheme, the more it is used, the better chance it has of being retained, and that has proven to be the case. I encourage the many people benefitting from this service to continue using it and I will continue to push for it to become a permanent fixture and expanded further.”